Hagerty encourages young adults to be involved in their community
By Emily Forkey
Special to The Sentinel
Jamie Hagerty, an 18-year-old Niagara University student majoring in psychology, won the Niagara County Peach Queen scholarship pageant last month. She also competed for Peach Queen in 2016, placing third. Jamie evolved as a contestant this year in her stage presence and ability to answer questions under pressure.
"Being a year older and having experienced the competition last year, she approached each event this year with a higher degree of confidence - not confidence in winning, but confidence in what to expect. Jamie grew overall as a Peach Queen contestant, leading to her crowning," said James Hagerty, Jamie's father, after observing Jamie's preparation this year.
"She was a contestant last year and enjoyed the Peach Queen program so much she decided to return this year. Her year of service has just begun with a full listing of activities to help serve the community," contestant coordinator Jennifer Pauly said.
As a winner of the Peach Queen pageant, Jamie received $4,000 and will continue to grow and raise money for her platform, "Support for Children with Broken Homes."
"The platform is based on personal experience. It is about making sure kids who do not have a good foundation of a family will be able to grow and prosper as kids deserve to," Jamie said.
"I want to include a lot of people in the community to help with my fundraising," she added. "I want to instill in people that volunteering is fun and good, so it will make people want to volunteer even when I am not having events. I also want to find ways to contribute to other charities, too. Specifically, for my fundraisers, I hope to have a paint night, meat raffle and blanket-making where I will take donations.
"I love the idea of people getting involved with community service, because I enjoy it so much and want others to, as well."
Jamie is a well-rounded student who has danced for 13 years of her life and continues to do so. Her stage presence is what has allowed her to thrive throughout Peach Queen competition.
She has a history with community service, which was part of her inspiration for competing in the pageant. Moreover, she graduated fifth in her senior class, showing her academic achievement.
"My friend was the Peach Queen in 2015. I saw what she did in the community and it inspired me to want to do it, because I am interested in community service and I like being involved with people," Jamie said about her decision to enter the pageant a second time. "I came in third place last year, and the program was so rewarding. I met many friends and found new ways to volunteer, so I wanted to do it again - regardless if I won."
The Lewiston Kiwanis Club sponsors the Peach Queen pageant. This event helps to spread awareness about different problems in the community through each contestant's platform.
Any young woman between the ages of 17-21, living in Niagara County, can enter to be in the Niagara County Peach Queen competition. Each contestant takes part in volunteer and team-building activities, which lead to an interview and then the pageant.
The competition is two days long. The first day, a platform is presented and a dance is performed. On the second day, onstage questions are asked to the competitors.
A lot of pressure is put on the contestants for Peach Queen - especially when the onstage questions are asked.
Jake Halleen, a member of the Peach Queen audience, said, "My favorite part about the entire event is the one minute on-the-spot question. It is interesting to see how each contestant answers with little or no time to prepare. Jamie impressed the crowd and the judges with her answers and ability to think outside of the box."
Since Jamie had success in winning the Peach Queen competition, she said she has considered entering other pageants.
"I thought about running for Miss New York," Jamie said. "I used to think that pageants were based solely off beauty, but I learned that it is more based on you as a person and how you can be yourself while helping the world. I will consider it more when I have less of a busy schedule."
In the meantime, "Jamie will be a wonderful representative for the Lewiston Kiwanis Club as the Niagara County Peach Queen," Pauly said.
The Niagara County Peach Queen scholarship pageant typically takes place during the second weekend of September, as part of the Niagara County Peach Festival.
Jamie Hagerty of Wheatfield, the 2017-18 Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Queen, visited with the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston membership at The Brickyard Pub & B.B.Q. on Wednesday. She was presented with a $4,000 scholarship from Kiwanis President Marty Pauly. Hagerty, a freshman at Niagara University majoring in psychology, spoke on the virtues of volunteerism - a concept she intends to promote on behalf of the club during her reign. (Photos by Terry Duffy, Robin Clark and Lauren Garabedian)